As I continue through mid-life, I am learning to embrace the unexpectedness of life. For me, doing so has always be a challenge. My modus operandi for much of it was force it until it fits rather than ‘if it don’t fit, don’t force it.’ If I believed a certain friendship was for me, I’d force it until we were thick as thieves. If there was a relationship that bore all of the signs of being everything but right for me, I’d pursue it with a zombie-like persistence. If there was a job I knew was not quite right for me, I would not only take it, but would remain in it far beyond the point it no longer served me or my talents.
But these days, I’m letting life be the tour guide as I enjoy the journey. I am allowing life to unfold and lead me to the right places, at the right times, and place me amongst the right people. And thus far, it isn’t failing me. Whether it be the lovely moms of my son’s little friends who I’ve gotten to know through our kids. Or the freelance opportunities I’m enjoying from one day getting the notion to write about the twists and turns of my life in a blog. Or most recently, the crazy idea to RSVP at the email listed on the back of a post card that landed in my mailbox for a graduate school open house. Despite swearing that I would never again step foot in an institution of higher learning after graduating from law school (unless I was being paid to do so), not only did I attend the open house for the Masters in Fine Arts program at the only place in the world I could imagine myself pursuing such a degree, I applied. And as my son and I walked out of a movie theatre after seeing Lego Batman recently, I listened to a congratulatory voice message of my acceptance into the program.
Being a student in an MFA program at 45, while working full-time, freelancing, and mothering an active four year-old, is something I imagined nor intended six months ago. In fact, if someone was to tell me that this could be my life, I would have warned that ‘cocaine is a hell of a drug’ in the infamous words of the dearly departed singer Rick James. But not only could this be my life, it likely will be my life. And I’m happy. Of course there are some additions and subtractions I would like to make to it (we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t experience some level of perpetual dissatisfaction in our lives). But, overall, I am the most content I have ever been. And much of my contentment has come from me no longer trying to force things to fit. But instead, remaining open and trusting the course that my life takes.
Here’s the thing–once time rests in our long view, it can never be resurrected. No matter how many urgent promises we all have made to treat it with the reverence it deserves, no one has yet to be granted the gift of its return for ‘do-overs’ or ‘do-betters.’ So we should constantly strive to move forward and honor the markers of a life ever evolving. One in which we failed and then thrived. Or loved and lost–only to love again. Or grew in our faith because it was all we had to see us through. Or courageously changed course in our lives seeking to discover our own north star.
Whatever our story, it is not for us to resist following the divine path life paves for us. Our charge is simply to live life with an awakened mind and ever curious spirit. And surely, it will lead us exactly where we are destined to be.
Photo Credit: Terri Linton